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No wonder these questions should arise in the highly philosophical mind of this arch investigator. Had he known the present theory of their having descended from ancient Israel; it seems as though his difficulties might at once have obtained relief. These accounts appear mostly strikingly for favour our hypothesis. Here we account for all the degrees of civilization and improvements existing in the past ages among the natives of those regions. How perfectly consentaneous are these facts stated, with the scheme presented in the preceding pages, that Israel brought into this new continent a considerable degree of civilization; and the better part of them long laboured to maintain it. But others fell into the hunting and consequent savage state; whose barbarous hordes invaded their more civilized brethren, and eventually annihilated most of them, and all in these northern regions! Their hieroglyphical records, paintings and knowledge of the solar year, (let it be repeated and remembered) agree to nothing that could have descended from the barbarous hordes of the north east of Europe, and north of Asia; but they well agree with the ancient improvements and state of Israel.
Our author proceeds; "Tradition and historical hieroglyphics name Huehuetlapallan, Tallan, and Aztlan, as the first residence of these wandering nations. There are no remains at this day of any ancient civilization of the human species to the north of Rio Gila, or in the northern regions travelled through by Hearne, Fiedler, and Mackenzie. But on the north west coast, between Nootka and Cook river, especially under the 57th degree of north latitude, in Norfolk Bay, and Cox Canal, the natives display a decided taste for hieroglyphical paintings." (See Voyage de Marchand, p. 258, 261, 375. Dixon, p. 332.) "Aharp (says Humbolt) represented in the hieroglyphical paintings of the inhabitants of the north west coasts of America, is an object at least remarkable, as the famous harp on the tombs of the kings of Thebes. I am inclined to believe that on the migrations of the Taultees and Aztecs to the south (the tribes noted as most improved)
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some tribes remained on the coast of New Norfolk and Nee Cornwall, while the rest continued their course southward. "This is not the place to discuss the great problem of the Asiatic origin of the Taultees, or Aztecs. The general question of the first origin of the inhabitants of the continent, is beyond the limits presented to history; and is not perhaps even a philosophical question." Thus our author declines giving any opinion on this subject. But he here gives it as his opinion that these more improved tribes in New Mexico came from the north-west coast, and left some of their half civilized brethren there. Among the hieroglyphical paintings of the latter, it seems, the harp is found. Was not this a noted Israelitish musical instrument? How should the American Indians be led to paint the Jewish harp? The Jews in Babylon "hung their harps upon the willows." And it is as natural an event that their brethren, in the wilds of America, should place them in their silent hieroglyphical paintings. Whence could have been derived the knowledge of the accurate hieroglyphical paintings, which this most learned author exhibits as found among some of the Indians; unless they had learned them from people to whom the knowledge of hieroglyphics had been transmitted from Egypt, its original source? It appears incredible that such improvements in this art, and the knowledge of the Jewish harp, should be transmitted from the ancient barbarous people of Scythia. If any can believe it, it is hoped they will be cautious of ever taxing others, with credulity. Such evidence, it is believed, weighs many times more in favour of their Israelitish extraction. M. Humbolt informs us from Mozino (of whom he speaks with great respect,) relative to Indians of Nootka, on the north-west coasts. Of the writings of this author, he says; "These embrace a great number of curious subjects; vis. the union of the civil and ecclesiastical power in the same persons of the princes--the struggle between Quaulz and Matlax, the good and bad principle by which the world is governed;--the origin of the human species at the time when stags were without horns, birds without wings, &c.;--the
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Eve of the Nootkians, who lived solitary in a flowery grove of Yucuatl--"Here is a traditional peculiarity of Israel;--the origin in the same person of civil and ecclesiastical government. The struggles of the good and bad principle seems very congenial to ancient revelation. The mother of all men.--Eve in paradise, is most striking in their tradition. This must have been learned from the history of Moses, and has a signal weight in favour of the Israelitish extraction of those Nootkians; as has their notion of the innocence and harmlessness of the primitive state of men and beasts. Our noted author says; "The Mexicans have preserved a particular relish for painting, and for the art of carving in wood or stone, We are astonished at what they are able to execute with a bad knife on the hardest wood. They are particularly fond of painting images, and carving statues of saints. This is derived from a religious principle of a very remote origin." He adds; "Cortez, in his letters to the Emperor Charles V. frequently boasts of the industry which the Mexicans displayed in gardening. Their taste for flowers undoubtedly indicates a relish for the beautiful. The European cannot help being struck (our author continues) with the care and elegance the natives display in distributing the fruits which they sell in small cages of very light wood. The sapotilles, the mammea, pears, and raisins, occupy the bottom; while the top is ornamented with odoriferous flowers. This art of entwining fruits and flowers had its origin perhaps in the happy period when, long before the introduction of inhuman rites, the first inhabitants of Anahuac, like the Peruvians, offered up to the Great Spirit the first fruits of their harvests." Here was the ancient rite, in Peru, and perhaps in Anahuac, of offering to the Great Spirit their first ripe fruits; as has appeared to have been the case among the various tribes of the natives of this continent. And our author conceives that the curious art of entwining fruits and flowers must have had an ancient origin. Possibly, indeed, it had an origin as ancient and as venerable, as the alternate knop (or fruit) and flower on the brim of Israel's brazen sea;-on
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the shafts of the golden candlesticks; and on the hem of the high priest's garment;--bells and pomegranates. These ideas were familiar in Israel; but probably in no other nation. Our author speaks of the language of some of the Indians in the south "of which the mechanism proves an ancient civilization." Dr. Edwards (Mr. Boudinot informs) was of the same opinion of the North American Indians: and he pronounced this ancient origin of their language to have been Hebrew.
It seems the Spanish missionaries found such traces of resemblance between some of the rites of the religion of the natives of Mexico, and the religion which they wished to introduce, that our author says, "They persuaded them that the gospel had in very remote times, been already preached in America. And they investigated its traces in the Aztec ritual, with the same ardour which the learned who in our days engage in the study of Sanscrit, display in discussing the analogy between the Greek mythology and that of the Ganges and the Burrampooter." It is a noted fact that there is a far greater analogy between much of the religion of the Indians, and Christianity, than between that of any other heathen nation on earth and Christianity. The aged Indians, noted in the proceeding pages, testified to this, when the children from the missionary school came home and informed what instructions they had received. The old Indian said; Now this is good talk. This is such as we used to hear when we were children from the old people, till some of the white people came among us, and destroyed it back again!
Our author again says; "The migrations of the American tribes having been constantly carried on from north to south, at least between the sixth and twelfth centuries, it is certain that the Indian population of New Spain must be composed of very heterogeneous elements. In proportion as the population flowed toward the south, some tribes would stop on their progress and mingle with other tribes that followed them." All seem to agree that the Indians came
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from the north-west, and overspread the continent of the south. Our author, speaking of the conjecture of the Indians descending from a people in the north parts of Siberia, says; "All these conjectures will acquire more probability, when a marked analogy shall be discovered between the languages of Tartary and those of the new continent; an analogy which according to the latest researches of M. Barton Smith, extended only to a very small number of words." I forbear to offer any further remarks upon these testimonies incidentally afforded by this most celebrated author. Let them be duly weighed by the judicious reader; and he surely cannot doubt but the natives of America came from the north over the Beering's Strait's; and descended from a people of as great mental cultivation, as were the ancient family of Israel. He must abandon the idea of their being of Scythian descent. He will find much evidence of their being all from one origin; and also much evidence in favour of the hypothesis, that some of the original inhabitants laboured to retain their knowledge of civilization; but that an overwhelming majority abandoned it for the idle hunting life.
In the Archaeologia Americana, containing Transactions and Collections of the American Antiquarian Society," published at Worcester, Mass. in 1820; are found antiquities of the people who formerly inhabited the western part of the United States." Of some of these I shall give a concise view, as additional arguments in favour of my theory, that some of the people of Israel who came into the western continent maintained some degree of civilization for a long time; but that the better part of the outcast tribes of Israel here finally became extinct, at least in North America, under the rage of their more numerous savage brethren. I shall present also from this interesting publication, some new and striking arguments in favour of the American natives as being of Israel.
Relative to the ancient forts and tumuli, the writer of the Archaeology says;"These military works,--these walls and ditches cost so much labour in their
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structure; those numerous and sometimes tasty mounds, which owe their origin to a people far more civilized than our Indians, but far less so than Europeans;--are interesting on many accounts to the antiquarian, to the philosopher, and the divine. Especially when we consider the immense extent of country which they cover; the great labour which they cost their authors; the acquaintance with the useful arts which that people had, when compared with our present race of Indians; the grandeur of many of the works themselves and the total absence of all historical records, or even traditionary accounts, respecting them. They were once forts, cemeteries, temples, altars, camps, towns, villages, race grounds, and other places of amusement, habitations of chieftains, videttes, watch towers, and monuments." These certainly are precisely such remains as naturally might have been expected to be furnished by a better part of Israel placed in their "outcast" state, in a vast wilderness, with the degree of civilization which they possessed when banished from Canaan; and were situated in the midst of savage tribes from their race, who had degenerated to the hunting life, and were intent on the destruction of this better part of their brethren. Thus situated, and struggling to maintain their existence, and to maintain their religious traditions, they would naturally form many of the very things above enumerated, walled towns, forts, temples, altars, habitation of chieftains, videttes, and watch towers. These cannot be ascribed to a people of any other origin, with any thing like an equal degrees of probability. The whole process of the hypothesis stated in relation to these two branches of the descendants of Israel, when finding themselves lodged in this vast wild continent, is natural and easy.
The above publication of the American Antiquarian Society, decides that these Indian works must have been very ancient, and long before this continent was discovered by Columbus. French forts and works in the west, are also discovered; and many articles on or near the site of those old forts, evidently European
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and modern. But these are clearly distinguished from those ancient forts and remains. Of the authors of those many ancient remains, this publication says; "From what we see of their works, they must have had some acquaintance with the arts and sciences. They have left us perfect specimens of circles, squares, octagon and parallel lines, on a grand and noble scale. And unless it can be proved that they had intercourse with Asia and Europe; we now see that they possessed the art of working metals." If they had been favoured with intercourse with any civilized parts of Asia or Europe, this thing must have been ascertained; and this western continent would not have been unknown to the literary eastern world. Such intercourse then is inadmissible. They probably must have derived their art of working metals, from the commonwealth of ancient Israel. They professed something of this knowledge. But none of the barbarous hordes in the north east of Asia, in these ancient days, did possess the knowledge of such arts. Speaking of the wells of those ancient works, the writer observes; "These wells, with stones at their mouths, resemble those described to us in the patriarchal age." Surely this is not unfavourable to the idea of the authors of those wells having been the descendants of Jacob.
To throw light on my hypothesis, I shall add a concise description of several of those ancient works in the west and south; and a few of the articles there found. These are largely given with their drawings or plates in the publication of the American Antiquarian Society, published at Worcester in 1820;--a book worthy of the perusal of all.
Near Newark in Licking county, Ohio, between two branches of the Licking river, at their junction, is one of the most notable remains of the ancient works. There is a fort including forty acres, whose walls are ten feet high. It has eight gateways, each of the width of about fifteen feet. Each gateway is guarded by a fragment of a wall, placed before, and about nine feet within the gate, of the bigness of the walls of
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the fort, and about four feet longer than the width of the gateway. The walls are as nearly perpendicular as they could be made with earth. Near this fort is another round fort containing twenty-two acres, and connected with the first fort by two parallel walls of earth about the size of the other walls. At the remotest part of this circular fort, and just without a gateway, is an observatory so high as to command a view of the region to some distance. A secret passage was made under this observatory to an ancient watercourse. At some distance from this fort (but connected by a chain of internal works, and parallel walls) is another circular fort of about twenty-six acres, with walls from twenty-five to thirty feet in height, with a ditch just under them. Connected with these forts is another square fort of about twenty acres, whose walls are similar to those of the fort first described. These forts were not only connected with each other (though considerable distance apart) by communications made by parallel walls of five or six rods apart;--but a number of similar communications were made from them by parallel walls, down to the waters of the river. All these works stand on a large plain, the top of which is almost level, but is high land by a regular ascent from near the two branches of the river, to a height of forty or fifty feet above the branches of the river. At four different places at the ends of these internal communications between the forts and down to the river, are watch towers on elevated ground, and surrounded by circular walls. And the points selected for these watch towers were evidently chosen with great skill, to answer their design. These forts and chains of communications between them, were so situated as nearly to enclose a number of large fields, which it is presumed were cultivated, and which were thus far secured from hostile invaders. From these works are two parallel walls leading off probably to other similar places of fortifications at a distance. They have been traced a mile or two, and are yet clearly visible. The writer says;"I should not be surprised if these parallel walls (thus leading off) are found to extend from
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one work of defence to another for the space of thirty miles--such walls have been discovered at different places, probably belonging to these works, for ten or twelve miles at least." He apprehends this was a road between this settlement, and one on the Hock- hocking river. And he says; "the planning of these works of defence "speaks volumes in favour of the sagacity of the authors."
Some small tumuli, probably for burying the dead, and other purposes, were found here. And the writer says of them very beautiful, and hornstone, suitable for arrow and spear heads, and a little lead, sulphur, and iron, were all that I could ascertain."
Four or five miles southerly from this is a stone fort enclosing forty acres or upwards. This contains two stone tumuli; "Such (says the author) as were used in ancient times as altars, and as monuments."--He adds; "I should rather suspect this to have been a sacred enclosure, or "high place," which was resorted to on some great anniversary." He deemed its design religious. At the mouth of the Muskingum, in Marietta, are notable instances of these ancient works. They stand on an elevated plain, on the east side of the mouth of the Muskingum, half a mile from its junction with the Ohio. Here are walls and mounds, in direct lines, in circular forms, and in squares. A square fort, called the town, encompasses forty acres by a wall of earth, from six to ten feet in thickness at the base. Each side has at equal distances three gates. From the middle and the largest gateway next the Muskingum, was a covert way, secured by two parallel walls of earth about sixteen rods apart. The highest part of these two walls is about twenty-one feet; and of forty-two feet thickness at the base. This extends about twenty-two rods, to where the river is supposed then to have run. Within, and at a corner of this fort, on an oblong elevated square, upwards of eleven rods in length, and between eight and nine rods in breadth. Its top forms a level, nine feet in height. The sides
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are nearly perpendicular. At another side of the fort is another elevated square, nearly as large. And at a third place is a third, still a little smaller. Near the centre of the fort is a circular mound, thirty feet in diameter and five feet high. At the corner of the fort is a semi-circular parapet, guarding the gateway, and crowned with a mound. South-east of this fort is a smaller fort of twenty acres, having a gateway in the centre of each side, and at each corner; each gateway being defended by a circular mound. On the outside of this smaller fort is a kind of circular pyramid, like a sugar loaf; it is a regular circle, one hundred and fifteen feet diameter at the base; and thirty feet in height. It is guarded by a ditch four feet deep, and fifteen wide; also by a parapet four feet in height. These works are attended with many minor walls, mounds, and excavations. One of these excavations is sixty feet in diameter at the surface; and was when first discovered twenty feet deep. Another within the fort is twenty five feet in diameter; and poles have been pushed down into its waters and rotten substances, thirty feet. Its sides project gradually towards its centre; and are found to be lined with a layer of very fine clay, eight or ten inches in thickness. It is supposed to contain hundreds of loads of manure. Old fragments of potter's ware have been picked up in this fort. This ware was ornamented with lines on the outside, curious and ingenious; and had a glazing on the inside. This ware seems to have been burned, and capable of holding water. The fragments when broken are black, and present shining particles when held to the light. Pieces of copper have at various times been found among these ancient works. One piece was in the form of a cup, with low sides, and the bottom thick and strong.
Tools of iron not being found in these works, in no sign the authors did not possess them. For had they been there, they would, no doubt, long since have been dissolved by rust. Some remains of iron particles however are found, as will be seen.
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On the waters of the Scioto, at Circelville, Ohio, is a notable instance of these military works. Here are two forts adjoining; one an exact circle; the other a square. The former has two walls, with a ditch between them. These walls are twenty feet in height. The inner wall was of clay; the outer of earth taken from the ditch between the walls. The walls of the square fort are ten feet in height; with eight gateways, besides the one leading into the adjoining circular fort. Each of these gateways is defended on the inside with a mound of earth four feet high, and forty feet in diameter at the base. Each mound is two rods within the gateway, and direct in front of it, no doubt for defence. The square and the circle of these forts are said to be most exact; and are thought to indicate much mathematical skill; as not the least error can be detected in their device.
In the centre of the round fort was a mound ten feet in height, and several rods in diameter at the base. On its eastern side and extending six rods, was a pavement, a half circle composed of pebbles. The top of the tumulus was about thirty feet in diameter, with a way like a modern turnpike leading to it from the east.
This mound has been removed and its contents explored. Some things found in it shall be noted. Two human skeletons. A great quantity of heads, either for arrows or spears. They were so large as to induce a belief they must have been the latter. The handle of the small sword, or large knife, made of an elk's horn, was here found, and is now in a museum at Philadelphia. A silver ferrule encompassed the end containing the blade; which silver ferrule, though black, was not much injured by rolling ages. The blade was gone by rust. But in the hole of the handle, there was left the oxyde or rust of the iron, of a similar shape and size of the shank formerly inserted. Some bricks well burnt were here found. And a large mirror of the length of three feet, half a foot in breadth, and one inch and a half thick, formed of isinglass, and on it a
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plate of iron "which (says the writer who has an eye witness) had become and oxyde;" or plate of rust.--"The mirror (he adds) answered the purpose very well for which it was intended."
About forty rods from this round fort, was another tumulus, "more than ninety feet in height," says the writer in the Archeology; which was placed on an artificial hill. It appears to have been a burying place; and probably was a high place of worship. Immense numbers of human bones, of all sizes, were here found. Here were found also with those bones, stone axes and knives, and various ornaments.
Not far from this tumulus was a semi-circular ditch. The informer remarks it was six feet deep when he first discovered it. At the bottom lay "a great quantity of human bones." These are supposed to be the remains of men slain in some great battle. They were all the size of men, and lay in confusion, as though buried in a pile, and in haste. Here might have been about the last of those more civilized people who inhabited that station; thus entombed in a ditch by a small residue of their brethren spared; or by their enemies, if all in the fortress were cut off.
The article discovered in the great tumulus were numerous; something seemed to have been buried with every corps.
On the river Scioto, mounds are frequently found, usually on hills with fair prospects to the east. Near Chilicothe are some interesting ones. In Chilicothe, Rev.Dr. Wilson of that place gives a description of one. It was fifteen feet high; sixty feet in diameter at the base; and contained human bones. Under its base in the centre lay a skeleton on a platform of twenty feet, formed of bark; and over it a mat formed of some bark. On the breast lay a piece of copper; also a curious stone five inches in length, two in breadth, with two perforations through it, containing a string of sinews of some animal. On this string were many beads of ivory or bone. The whole appeared to have been designed to wear upon the neck, as a kind of breast-plate.
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Another set of curious Indian works are found within six miles of Chilicothe, on Paint Creek, the accurate description and drawings of which are given in the Archaeology. Here the great wall encloses a hundred and ten acres; the wall twelve feet in height, with a ditch about twenty feet wide. It has an adjacent enclosure of sixteen acres, the walls like the other. In a "sacred enclosure" are six mounds. The immense labours of this place, and cemeteries filled with human bones, denote that a great people, and of some degree of civilization in ancient days dwelt here.
A stone mound was discovered in the vicinity of Licking river, near Newark, Ohio; and several others in different places. These contained human bones, and such articles as the following; "urns, ornaments of copper, heads of spears, &c. of the same metal, as well as of medals of copper." A minister of Virginia, writing to the Antiquarian Society relative to the ancient Indian monuments at Grave Creek, near the mouth of the Monongahela, says; "In one of the tumuli, which was opened about twenty years since, sixty copper beads were found. Of these I procured ten.--They were made of coarse wire--hammered out--cut at unequal lengths. They were soldered together in an awkward manner--They were incrusted with verdigrise; but the inside was pure copper. This fact shows that these ancient American inhabitants were not wholly unacquainted with the use of metals." There are many indications that their improvements were equal to those of Israel when expelled from Canaan; as will be seen by any who will peruse the Archaeology. Several hints of them shall here be added.
Says the writer; "Along the Ohio, some of it (their pottery) is equal to any thing of the kind now manufactured."--"It is well glazed or polished; and the vessel well shaped." Many ornaments of silver and copper were found. Many wells were dug through the hardest rocks.
A crucible was found in a tumulus near Chilicothe, which is now in the hands of S. Williams, Esq. of that place. It will bear an equal degree of heat with those
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now used in glass manufactories; and appears made of the same material.
A stone pipe is noted as found six feet in the alluvial earth; the brim of which is curiously wrought in high relief, and on the front side a handsome female face.
In removing a large mound in Marietta bones of a person were found. "Lying immediately over, or on the forehead of the body, were found three large circular bosses, or ornaments for a sword belt, or a buckler; they are composed of copper, overlaid with a thick plate of silver. The fronts of them are slightly convex, with a depression, like a cup, in the centre, and measure two inches and a quarter across the face of each. On the back side, opposite the depressed portion, is a copper rivet or nail, around which are two separate plates, by which they were fastened to the leather. Two small pieces of the leather were found lying between the plates of one of the bosses." "near the side of the body was found a plate of silver, which appears to have been the upper part of a sword scabbard; it is six inches in length and two inches in breadth, and weighs one ounce; it has no ornaments or figures, but has three longitudinal ridges, which probably correspond with the edges or ridges of the sword; it seems to have been fastened to the scabbard by three or four rivets, the holes of which yet remain in the silver.
"Two or three broken pieces of a copper tube, were also found, filled with iron rust. These pieces, from their appearance, composed the lower end of the scabbard itself was discovered, except the appearance of rust above mentioned.
"Near the feet was found a piece of copper, weighing three ounces. From its shape it appears to have been used as a plumb, or for an ornament, as near one of the ends is a circular crease, or groove, for tying a thread; it is round; two inches and a half in length, one inch in diameter at the centre, and half an inch at each end. It is composed of small pieces of native copper, pounded together; and in the cracks between
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the pieces are stuck several pieces of silver; one nearly the size of a four penny piece, or half a dime. This copper ornament was covered with a coat of green rust, and is considerable corroded. A piece of red ochre, or paint, and a piece of iron ore, which has the appearance of having been partially vitrified, or melted, were also found. The ore is about the specific gravity of pure iron."
Surely these things indicate some good degree of improvement in some of the arts of life. Multitudes of other things are noted in this most valuable publication, in which these things are given.
The great antiquity of these works of the native is proved beyond a doubt. Trees of the third growth are found standing on them, whose annular rings show them to have been more than four hundred years of age.
And the hugeness of those works indicates a vast population.
The clergyman writing from Virginia to the Antiquarian Society, of the works at Grave Creek, says of a vast tumulus in that neighborhood, called "the Big Grave;" "It is certainly one of the most august monuments of remote antiquity any where to be found. Its circumference is three hundred feet at the base--Its altitude from measurement is ninety feet, and its diameter, at the summit, is forty five feet. This lofty and venerable tumulus has been so far opened as to ascertain that it contains many thousands (probably) of human skeletons, but no farther. Of the numerous Indian works of this region the writer says; "A careful survey of the above mentioned works would probably show that they were all connected, and transformed but parts of a whole, laid out with taste."
These ancient works continued all the way down the Ohio river to the Mississippi, where they increased and were far more magnificent. They abound at the junction of rivers, in most eligible positions, and in most fertile lands. The number of tumuli on that river exceeds three thousand; "the smallest not less than twenty feet in height, and one hundred in diameter at the base. The largest are of huge magnitude. The informer
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former in the Archaeology says; "I have been sometimes induced to think that at the period when these were constructed, there was a population as numerous as that which once animated the borders of the Nile or the Euphrates, or of Mexico. Brackenridge calculates that there were 5000 cities at once full of people. I am perfectly satisfied that cities similar to those of ancient Mexico, of several hundred thousand souls, (says the writer) have existed in this country. Nearly opposite St. Louis there are traces of two such cities in the distance of five miles. One of the mounds is eight hundred yards in circumference at the base, (about fifty rods in diameter) the exact size of the pyramid of Asychis; and one hundred feet in height." (See Archaeologia Americana, page 189.) The author says in speaking of many of these pyramids of the west; there is "one near Washington, Mississippi state, of one hundred and forty-six feet in height!" Articles found in and near these works show the improvement of the arts among those who erected them." Though these tumuli were used as places to bury their dead, and places for temples, altars and religious worship; they were no doubt places also for the last resort when likely to be overcome by an enemy. Solis, a writer noted in the Archaeology, when describing the destruction of the Mexicans by the Spaniards, speaks of them as fleeing to their Teocalli. (The Teocalli were high places formed for the site of their temples, for altars, and places for entombing the dead. The name Teocalli, Humbolt informs, was given these sacred places from the name of the god, to whom the place was dedicated.) Solis informs that in the time of the conflicts of the Mexicans with the Spaniards, their Teocalli appeared like living hills covered with warriors, determined to defend their sacred places, where were their temples, altars, and the tombs of their fathers. Here they fought with desperation. The high places and great tumuli of the natives on the Mississippi, no doubt were for the same purposes with those of South America. The writer of the Archaeology remarks, that had temples been built on any of their high places, probably no vestige of them would now be visible.
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These ancient works of the native Americans may well remind us of what was said in the Old Testament writings of the ancient "high places" of Israel. Psalm lxxviii. 53: "For they provoked him to anger with their high places."
How abundantly are these noted through their sacred writings. In scores of text we read them. Such a king built their high places. Such a reformer destroyed them. Such a vile king rebuilt them and so on. Here was a train of the most common events. The hearts of Israel were long and most perfectly inured to the religious use of their high places, though it was forbidden. Scott remarks that these high places were "both for idolatry; and for the regular worship of Jehovah." Solomon had used these high places. 1Kings iii. 3, 4; "And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father; only he sacrificed and burned incense in high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for what was the great high place. A thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar." Scott upon the passage says; "Until the temple was builded, the irregularity of sacrificing to the God of Israel in high places--was in some degree connived at. But the people proceeded further in it than in the days of David; and Solomon was censurable for countenancing them." It seems they had their great high places and their smaller high places, to which that ancient people were greatly attached. These high places in Israel are sometimes alluded to in a very bad sense, as when they were the seats of idolatry; and sometimes in a sense which seems more favourable. But allusions are abundantly made to them through the sacred pages; "high places" of various altitudes and dimensions "on every high hill, and under every green tree." The children of Jacob on great occasions assembled at Gilgal. The name of this place imports "a heap." Here was a pile of stones taken from the heart of Jordan, and formed into a monument at the place of Israel's first encampment in the promised land. This circumstance and the numerous monumental
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piles of stone in ancient Israel, bear a near resemblance to the many piles of stone found in this country, and particularly on the waters of the Licking near Newark, and in the counties of Perry, Pickaway, and Ross, Ohio.
Israel were ever accustomed to hills and high places for their resort to transact important concerns as well as acts of devotion. Gibeon was a great high place, as has been noted. Shiloh, a noted place of such resort, was on a high hill. This was discontinued as the place of such resort, when the loftier hill of Zion was selected in its place. The temple was located by divine decision, on this lofty mount of Zion. Ideas like these together with their other "high places," in ancient Israel, may account for the numerous and huge tumuli found in this continent.
Alluding to the high places in ancient Israel, God denounced, Amos vii. 9; "The high places of Israel shall be desolate." And Jer. xii. 7; "I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies." It then follows verse 12; "The spoilers have come upon all high places through the wilderness; for the sword of the Lord shall devour from one end of the land to the other end of the land; no flesh shall have peace." When this was written the ten tribes had been gone from Canaan many years. God had indeed "given this branch of the beloved of his soul into the hands of her enemies;" as verse 7, just recited. The subsequent verse given may be far better understood in future days, should greater light dawn on the subject, and present our natives as the tribes of Israel. They and we, in that case, shall better understand the passage, "The spoilers are come upon all high places through the wilderness; for the sword of the Lord shall devour from the one end of the land to the other end of the land." This seems an event then future--"The sword shall come--"though the tribes had before been banished. This, as it related to Israel, seems to be an event to be accomplished during their out-cast state. For in the second
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and third verses, after this, is predicted their restoration to their heritage in their own land. No supposible origin assigned to American natives could so well account for what we find of the American high places, as the supposition of their descent from ancient Israel. The events upon this supposition are most natural and characteristic.
These American high places are striking resemblances of the Egyptian pyramids. Consult those in the region of Mexico, as already stated from Mr. Humbolt; and it seems as though they must have been made by the same people with those of Egypt. But the Egyptian pyramids were seen and well known by ancient Israel; and it has long been conjectured they were built by their labours during their bondage in Egypt. How natural then, that they should carry down to succeeding generations the deep impression of them in their minds. And what other nation on earth would be so likely to form such imitations of them, in a remote outcast region, as they? and especially after all we read of Israel's high places, piles, and monuments, their acquaintance with Gibeon, and Gilgal; their deep impression of the temple on mount Zion; and especially their high and sacred places at Bethel and Dan! No other account can more naturally be given of the American high places, then that they originated in those ancient impressions. Of the high places near Mexico, the writer of the Archaeology says; "The group of pyramids of Teotihuacan is in the valley of Mexico. eight leagues north east from the capital, in a plain named--"the Path of the Dead." Here are two large pyramids, surrounded by hundreds of smaller ones, which form square streets with the cardinal points of the compass. The writer says one of these three great pyramids of Egypt, and the length of the base nearly equal to that of Cephron. These things are much in the style of the Egyptian pyramids. "Around the Cheops and the Mycerinus are eight smaller pyramids placed with symmetry, and parallel to the front of the greater," says the writer, in noting the resemblance of between these
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and the Egyptian pyramids. And after further noting the "four principle stories" of a great Trocaili, or pyramid, near Mexico, and noting its composition, he adds; "This construction calls to mind that one of the Egyptian pyramids of Sackhara, which was six stories, is a mass of pebbles and yellow mortar, covered on the outside with rough stones." The two great Mexican pyramids (this author informs) had on their summit huge statues of the sun and moon,, formed of the stone and covered with plates of gold, which the soldiers of Cortez plundered. They did not now locate upon their high places their golden calves; but statues of the sun and moon, those brightest visible emblems of their Great Spirit. Of one of these pyramids demolished, the writer says; " We still discover the remains of a stair case built with large hewn stone, which formerly led to the platform of the Teocalli."
The Archaeology informs of a pyramid toward the Gulf of Mexico discovered by Spanish hunters about thirty years ago, in a thick forest, as though concealed. "For the Indians (says the writer) carefully concealed from the whites, whatever was the object of their ancient veneration." Various authors unite in this trait of Indian character; which accounts for the fact, that so many of their Israelitish rites should remain so long concealed from us. This newly discovered pyramid was built wholly of hewn stone of vast size and very beautiful. The writer says, this pyramid "had six, perhaps seven stories." "Three stair cases lead to the top. The covering of its steps are decorated with hieroglyphical sculpture, and small niches, which are arranged with great symmetry."--These niches are three hundred and eighteen.
The Teocalli or pyramid of Cholala, near Mexico, (noted before from M. Humbolt) is given on a place in the Archaeology, with its temple on its summit, and with its stair-cases of one hundred and twenty steps, leading up its lofty stories. This huge majestic pile was called, "The mountain made by the hand of man."
In the interiors of various of these great pyramids were found considerable cavities for repositories of the
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dead. A square stone house was found in one of them, containing two skeletons, some images or likenesses, and many vessels curiously painted and varnished.--This room was "covered with bricks and strata of clay." Large bricks were laid, each upper layer jutting over the one next below, and strengthened by beams of cypress,. The same manner of laying the bricks, instead of an arch, has "been found (says the writer) in several Egyptian edifices." In a similar cavity, he informs in the tomb of a Peruvian prince, massy gold was found to the value of "more than five millions of francs.
In the time when the Spaniards invaded Mexico, the Cholula was by the natives deemed a holy city. Here existed a great number of priests. And "no spot displayed greater magnificence in the celebration of public worship, or more austerity in its penances and fasts."
It is true that similar ancient piles have existed in some various regions of the east. But the writer of the Archaeology says; "The pagodas of Indostan have nothing in common with the Mexican temples." Of the pyramids of Mexico, of Egypt, and of similar piles found in some parts of Asia, he says; "their destination was altogether different." He means in relation to those of Mexico having temples, and altars, and being sacred to worship. This surely affords an argument in favour of the idea, that the occupants of those high places in Mexico, originated from Israel, where all their high places were for sacred worship.
On the pyramid of Cholula was an altar dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, or the serpent of green feathers; as the name imports. Of their tradition relative to this Quetzalcoatl, the writer says; "this is the most mysterious being of the whole Mexican mythology." An account is then given of this person, sufficiently indeed intermixed with fables; as is usual in the pagan mythologies of events, even founded on revelation. Passing over various of the immaterial fictions, I will sketch the leading points of the picture.
The character to whom their most noted altar was dedicated, whose name imported a serpent of green
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feathers, was at the same time (in their own description) "a white and bearded man." "He was high priest of Tula, legislator, chief of a religious sect who inflicted on themselves the most cruel penance."
"He introduced the custom of piercing the lips and ears; and lacerating the rest of the body with prickles and thorns." "He appeased by his penance divine wrath." A great famine prevailed in the province of Culan."
"The saint (this legislator) had chosen his place of retirement--on the volcano Catciteptl, or speaking mountain, where he walked barefoot on agave leaves armed with prickles."
"The reign of Quetzalcotl was a golden age of the people of Anahuac. The earth brought forth without culture the most fruitful harvests. But this reign was not of long duration."
"The Great Spirit offered Quetzalcotl beverage, which in rendering him immortal, inspired him with a taste of travelling, and with an irresistible desire of visiting a distant country called Tlapallan."
In passing "towards the plains of Cholula, and thence to the eastern coasts of Mexico," thus making his way from the north-west to the south-east, he yielded to the entreaties of the inhabitants, who offered him the reins of government." He dwelt twenty years among them, taught them to cast metals, ordered fasts, and regulated the intercalations of the Taltic year."
"He preached peace to men, and would permit no other offerings to the Divinity than the first fruits of the harvests."
"He disappeared, after he had declared to the Cholulans that he would return and govern them again, and renew their happiness."
The writer of the Archaeology of this saint whom the unhappy Montezuma (the most noted and venerable Mexican chief when the Spaniards first arrived at Mexico) thought he recognized in the soldiers of Cortez, the Spanish general. `We know by our books,' (said Montezuma, in his first
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interview with that Spanish general.) `that myself and those who inhabit this country, are not natives, but strangers, who came from a great distance. We know also, that the chief who led our ancestors hither, returned for a certain time to his primitive country. We have always believed that his descendants would one day come to take possession of this country. Since you arrive from that region where the sun rises; and as you assure me you have long known us; I cannot doubt but that the king who sent you is our natural master." (p.263.) It has generally been the fact, that events in pagan mythology, which are founded on ancient revelation, have yet been confused, and blended with much fable. Much of the mythology of the heathen is thought to be of this character. Some of the events can easily be traced to ancient revelation; while others are so fabulous, that to reduce them to such an origin is more difficult. While considerable fable is involved in this historic tradition of the Cholulans; it appears to offer a singular facility to trace it to the inspired records of Israel.
Though their ancient "legislator" is called by a name importing the serpent of green feathers; yet he was an ancient man, a white man and bearded; called by Montezuma, a saint, who led them to this country, and taught them many things. Who could this be but Moses, the ancient legislator in Israel? The Indians in other regions have brought down a tradition, that their former ancestors, away in a distant region from which they came, were white. And the Cholulans, it seems teach that they wore beards; which was the fact; in opposition to the Indians, who pluck them out with their tweezers. How exactly does Moses answer to this their ancient legislator, and chief of their religious community, as may appear.
As Moses inducted into office Aaron, the high priest; so this office, in their mythology, is blended in him. I will remark upon these points in their order. This religious community, under their "legislator and chief," inflicting on themselves cruel penance, may be but a traditional notion of the strictures of the Mosaic laws and religion.
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The name of the serpent of green plumage being given to this legislator, leads the mind to Moses' brazen serpent in the wilderness; and now in Indian tradition, adorned with their most noted amulet, and article of "medicine," the green plumage. This has ever been the most precious article known in their holy ark, and their "medicine bag," through various tribes. Hence it is their most natural emblem of the healing power annexed to the ancient brazen serpent made by Moses; and thus annexed to the name given to him.
This legislator and chief's introducing the custom of "piercing the ears;"--reminds of the noted law of Moses, of boring the ear of the servant who was unwilling to leave his master.
This teaching to lacerate the body with prickles and thorns, is a striking Hebrew figure of the many self-denying services demanded in the Mosaic rituals.
His appeasing divine wrath, may have a striking allusion to the system of the Mosaic sacrifices, including also the mediation of Moses as a type of Christ, and God's turning away his fierce wrath from Israel at his intercession, as was repeatedly the case.
The great famine in Culan naturally reminds of the great famine in Canaan and its adjacent nations; which famine brought Israel into Egypt.
This legislator's retiring to the place of a volcano, and a speaking mountain, most naturally leads to the mind to Moses retiring, in the land of Midian, to the backside of the wilderness, to the mount of God, where God spake to him in the burning bush, and in after days made the same mountain appear like a tremendous volcano indeed, as well as like a speaking mountain;--when from the midst of the terrible fire, and sound of the trumpet, God commanded his people in the giving of the law.
This legislator's walking barefoot, naturally alludes to Moses' "putting his shoes from his feet," at the divine direction, before the burning bush.
The golden age with spontaneous harvests, naturally suggests the seven years of plenty in Egypt; and may include also (and especially) the happy period
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during the theocracy in Israel; and the vast fruitfulness of the land which flowed with milk and honey, while the people of Israel walked with God.
His preaching peace to men, and "offering to the Divinity the first fruits of the harvests," alludes to the preaching of the gospel under the Old Testament; and to the signal institution of the offerings of the first ripe fruits; a rite which various tribes if Indians have most scrupulously maintained; as has been made to appear.
His yielding to the entreaties of the people who offered him the reins of government, and his teaching them useful things, may be a general traditional view of Moses' government of Israel, and the benefits resulting from it. They would naturally ascribe whatever knowledge of the useful arts, and of astronomy they had, to this their noted chieftain.
The close of this golden age strikingly exhibits the expulsion of Israel from that happy land.
The giving of the beverage, which rendered immortal, is an impressive representation of the immortality of the human soul, as taught in ancient revelation.
And the producing of an ardent desire for transmigration to a distant region of the world, is a most natural tradition of the fact, that Israel were disposed to emigrate (and did indeed emigrate) from the station in Media where they were first lodged when carried from Canaan, to some remote and unknown part of the world, where they were outcast and lost from the knowledge of civilized man; as has been the fact.
And their coming from the north-west to Mexico, indicates to what region, and in what direction, they came; over Beering's Straits into America, and southward through the continent. This accords with the testimonies of Robinson, Humbolt, and all the most intelligible writers of the Indian tradition. All bring them from the north-west coasts of America.
The venerable Montezuma (over whom our hearts have so often bled) was prepared to receive the bloody plundering Cortez, and his armies, into his bosom; believing them to be sent by their ancient legislator (in
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the distant part of the world from which they came) to reign again over them, and to make them happy! Abundantly are we assured of Indian tradition which well accords with this.
Israel had read in Moses, of God's "scattering them from one end of the earth to the other;" and again recovering them. Amos, the prophet of Israel, had assured God's scattering them in a "famine of the word, from north to east, from sea to sea," wandering to and fro over a vast continent between those extreme seas; and had expressly predicted their being again recovered, as had some others of the prophets before their expulsion. They would then naturally carry down these ideas with them in their broken traditions. They would retain the expectation that the Being who banished them, would again, some time, and in some way, appear and meliorate their condition. And our native Americans generally, if not all the most intelligent among them, have (with the venerable Montezuma) retained something of this idea. Often had we information from Indian chiefs, and others from different regions, that they have ever understood from their traditions that the time is coming which shall make them more happy. The same tradition led the aged wife of the Indian chief (related by our missionaries) to say, after the missionaries had unfolded their object in her hearing, to the following effect. We have ever understood that at some time good people are to come and teach us the right way. How do we know but these are those good people come to teach us?
What account can be given of this expectation brought down by the natives, but that they derived it from the ancient prophets in Israel; and from the fact that God had promised them the everlasting possession of the land of Canaan; and had repeatedly recovered them in ages past from their states of bondage and captivity.
The piece of Mexican mythology, which has been explained, and which is pronounced "the most mysterious." can receive probably no rational explanation, if applied to a Tartar origin, or to any other eastern nation
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beside Israel. But if applied to Israel, its application is most striking;" and it contains such facts as might in such a case be expected. If our natives be of Israel, it is natural to expect the most enlightened of them would have some tradition of their noted lawgiver Moses. These Cholulans probably were among the most enlightened. And here is their ancient lawgiver, bearing a traditional assemblage of various of the distinguishing religious insignia of ancient Israel.
This reminds of the testimony of Baron Humbolt, before noted, who speaking of the "theocratic forms of government" of the Zac, Bogota, and Peru, notes the tradition of the former; and of their having been founded by a "mysterious personage" who, according to the tradition of the Mozcas, (possibly followers of Moses) "lived in the temple of the sun at Sogamozo rising two thousand years." Nothing can be more natural than to view this a traditional notion of Moses' administration in Israel in the wilderness. The place of their mysterious founder was at Sogamozo--perhaps explained by Sagan Moses as before noted.
This their tradition relative to their ancient lawgiver, and the structure of their pyramids, so similar to those of Egypt, suggest much relative to the origin of this people. Could the advocates for their Tartar descent find so much favour of their hypothesis; could they truly exhibit the fact, that the whole Tartar race had, in ancient times, served an apprenticeship of a number of centuries to the art of making such brick and pyramids as are found in America; (as the children of Israel are supposed to have done in Egypt;) how forcibly would they adduce this argument to show that the authors of those pyramids of America must have been of Tartar descent! And indeed there would be, in my humble opinion, much more force in it, in favour of their hypothesis, than in all the arguments they have ever been able to adduce.
One more argument I will adduce from facts furnished in the Archaeology, to show that the American natives are from the tribes of Israel. The argument is a tradition of a trinity an their Great Spirit. Evidence
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of different kinds, and from different regions, relative to such a sentiment, is exhibited; not that the writer of the Archaeology, makes this application of it. An Indian article called by this writer a "triune vessel," and noted as a religious article, and an emblem of their gods, was found on the forks of the Cumberland river, in alluvial earth, four feet below the surface. It may now be seen; and its perfect drawing is given in the Archaeology. It is composed of fine clay of light amber colour, rendered hard by fire; and parts of it painted with vermilion; which paint is very brilliant. The vessel contains about a quart, and is of the following figure. The top is a hollow stem of three inches diameter, and swelling in size downward like a gourd shell. Against the bulge, there is the accurate resemblance of three human heads; joined each one to the shell by the back of the head, and each face outward in a triangular form, and all of the same dimensions. The workmanship of the faces and features is excellent; so that (says the writer) "even a modern artist might be proud of the performance." The writer in the Archaeology conceives of it to be an emblem of three of their principal gods, and seems to think of deceiving an argument from it in favour of the natives being of East Indian extraction. He says of this triune vessel; "Does it not represent the three chief gods of India, Brahma, Vishnoo, and Siva." This certainly seems very far fetched! Why should they be supposed to be a representative of those three East Indian gods, any more than three other heathen gods on earth? Brahma, Vishnoo, and Siva are three distinct ideal gods. But this triune vessel is one entire thing. It must rather then have been designed to represent one god with something like three facts, or characters. One of the faces denotes an old person; the other two, younger persons. The vessel stands on the three necks of these three heads, each projecting from the bottom of the middle part of the vessel one inch and a half. If the writer of the Archaeology may imagine he discerns in this an affinity with the East Indian worshipers of Brahma, Vishnoo, and Siva; I may certainly
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be allowed in my turn to conjecture, that here may be discovered a striking affinity with the ancient worshipers of the one Jehovah in three persons; as in ancient Israel. The thought perfectly accords with the idea of our natives being the descendants of Israel, than this triune vessel was a designed emblem of the triune God of Israel. The doctrine of a mysterious three in the one God of Israel, runs through the Bible,--Old testament as well as New. This plurality in their one God, Israel had always read from the days of Moses. They found a plurality in God's name, and various appellations. They found him speaking in the plural, we and us. They found who this plural were--God; the Seed of the woman; and the Spirit of God; always three, and only three. They had read, "The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand--." In the first three chapters of their Bible, they found this three in God, as well as in all subsequent parts of their sacred book.
Long had Israel read, or heard read, abundance of such sacred language as the following; which ancient critics assure us relates to a mysterious trinity in the one God; "When God, they caused me to wander." in the Hebrew. "Remember now thy Creators in the days of thy youth." "For thy Makers is thy husbands." "The knowledge of the Holy, (Hebrew plural, Holies, or Holy Ones) is understanding." Nouns, adjectives, and verbs, applied to God, they had abundantly found to be plural; and yet absolute divinity ascribed to each. Their infant to be born was "the mighty God, the everlasting Father." And their Spirit of the Lord, they had read of as the Being who garnished the heavens, who created the world. Of this mysterious three in one God, Israel had ever read, or heard. When the intelligent among them thought of God, this triune view of him must have been familiar. And when their distant descendants had lost (or were losing) the knowledge of reading, it is natural to suppose they would construct an emblem, to perpetuate the memory of their God. The Indians are known to make great use of hieroglyphics and figures of speech; and they
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never form them for no purpose. As circumstances indicated that this triune vessel was a religious emblem, as the narrator of it believes; so this affords an argument of some weight that the inventors of it were of Israel.
Another argument going to the same point is this. The writer in Archaeology says; "One fact I will here mention; whenever there is a group of tumuli, three are uniformly larger than the rest; and stand in the most prominent places. Three such are to be seen standing in a line on the north side of Detroit.--Three such are to be seen near Athens; and at a great many places along the Ohio river. There are three such near the town of Piketon. "Were they not altars. (he inquires) dedicated to their principal gods?" Permit me to reply; They were much more likely to have been emblems dedicated to the one triune God of Israel.
The numerous ancient inhabitants on the Mississippi were the same race with those of Mexico and Peru. And the latter have exhibited similar ideas of the triune God. The writer of the Archaeology says of those ancient people of the Mississippi; "Their religious rites were it is believed, the same with those of Mexico and Peru." And he further notes, "Clavigero, who was well acquainted with the histories of the Mexicans and Peruvians, professes to point out the places they stopped at; and the times they continued to sojourn there. According to him they arrived at Mexico in 648, and came across the Pacific not far from the Beering's Straits." Thus all these people were of one stock.
And the writer of the Archaeology speaks of the native South Americans as having three principal gods. He says; "One of the three principal gods of the South Americans was called by a name, which signifies the god of the shining mirror. He was supposed to be a God who reflected his own supreme perfections, and was represented by a mirror, which was made in that country of polished obsidian, which is a volcanic production, may
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well account for its absence in this country. The numerous volcanoes in South America equally account for the abundance of mirrors of obsidian there. This deity was represented as enjoying perpetual youth and beauty. Other gods had images placed on pedestals in the Mexican temples; this one had a mirror on his. The divinity was held in awful veneration as the great unknown God of the universe. Who does not here discover (continues the writer) a strong trace of a knowledge of the true God, derived by tradition from the first patriarchs?" Truly we may exclaim with this writer; "Who does not discover here some knowledge of the true God of Israel and a manifest traditionary view of him?" But who does not discover also, that what the writer calls the three principal gods of the South Americans, is truly but one God?--the great unknown God of the universe! No evidence is here, or elsewhere exhibited, that those people held to three principal divinities, only that the images of the other two gods were placed on pedestals; and the mirror representing the other was not. But it is not evident from this, that they believed in three distinct gods; or that the builders of these temples designed any such thing. The view they had of the God of the mirror, shows they could not hold to three principal deities. And it has been universally testified of the great body of the Indians of America, that they hold to but one God, there is something in him threefold. The South Americans must have three temples, while yet they had but one temple of the mirror or Supreme God. The North Americans must have three (and only three) huge high places, or pyramids in a place. And the writer informs that only in one of these is found the mirror; as in the three temples of South America, only one has the mirror. The triune vessel explains the idea;--three heads combined in one; three faces, and but one vessel;--one of an old man; the other two younger. Here is Indian tradition relative to their one Great Spirit--God; the Shiloh; and the Spirit. And the sentiment is further corroborated
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by the following fact, given also in the Archaeology. Another emblem was found in a tumulus near Nashville, Tennessee, and is now in the museum Mr. Clifford of Lexington, Kentucky. It is formed of clay, like the triune vessel aforenoted; and is made to exhibit three views of a man's head and body to the middle with the arms cut off close to the body. It gives a side view of one of those heads, with strong and well formed features.
It gives a front view of another of them. And a view of the backside of the head and shoulders of the third. Each head has upon it a tillet and cake, with the hair plated. This too was deemed by the writer a religious emblem. The figures are given on a plate, as is the triune vessel. They are considered as three devices for the same object. As it is well ascertained the Indians hold to one Supreme Spirit; they cannot be said to hold to three principal gods. No evidence of such things exist, but in these various triune emblems. And these, it is contended, do not amount to any such thing; but to their ancient belief in the triune God of Israel.
Let the reader here recollect the account given by the Rev. Mr. Chapman, in the Union Mission, of the Osage Indians. Stating their religious customs, when about to form a treaty of peace, he says; "About two feet in advance, and in a line with the path, were three bunches of grass, which had been cut and piled about three feet apart, as an emblem of him, whom they worshipped." Here was the station for the priest to stand and pray. And all the Indians must then step on each of these piles of grass. Proceeding on about forty rods, they halted and formed with grass another emblem of the Great Spirit;--a circle of about four feet diameter. By this was offered another long prayer. Then each one stepping on the circle they passed on. The chief informed that both these were representations of their God. Mr. C. upon the incident remarks, "Perhaps the curious may imagine that some faint allusion to the lost ten tribes of Israel may be discovered in the select number of dreamers; (which he had before stated, they being
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ten) and to the trinity in unity, in the bunches, and in the circle of grass!" These various Indian traditions from distant regions of the continent, and different ages, appear to form some striking evidence that the Indians had indeed brought down traditionary impressions of their one Great Spirit's consisting of a trinity in unity! Could so great an argument be found in favour of the Indians having descended from the Tartars, the advocates for such a descent would not fail of making much of this argument. No rational account can be given of these various and distinct triune emblems of their Great Spirit, but that they were derived from ancient revelation in Israel, which did throughout present the one God of Israel as God; the Lord; and the Spirit of the Lord;--God; the seed of the woman, who was likewise the "mighty God;" and the Spirit! No rational account beside this can be given of these various Indian emblems of their God.
These emblems of their one God explain the noted triune emblems of the other ancient Indians further south, and in different regions; the triune vessel of three faces; the three chief pyramids;--and the three temples, with one of them containing the mirror. These three piles of grass in one of their emblems of God, are not represent "the three chief gods of India, Brahma, Vishnoo and Siva;" as has (without any evidence) been conjectured of southern triune emblems. But the Indians expressly inform, "they are an emblem of him, whom they worshipped." And the same one God of the Indians was in the same Indian rites denoted by three bunches of grass; and also by one grass circle, with a bunch of grass in its centre. We thus have from different Indian regions, different ages, and a variety of emblems, a complete union of evidence of an Indian tradition of trinity in unity in their God. And this is the God of whom they boast, as the head of their nation; the God exclusively in covenant with their ancient fathers. This has appeared from ample testimony; to which is added the following. The celebrated Boudinot informs, that while he was at the seat of government, at a certain
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time, chiefs and leading characters were present from seven different distant tribes of Indians. He says on the Sabbath he was much pleased to see their orderly conduct. They learned that this was a day in which the white people worship the Great Spirit. An old sachem addressed his red brethren very devoutly. Mr. Boudinot asked the interpreter what he said? He replied, "The substance of it is, the great love which the Great Spirit always has manifested toward the Indians; that they were under his immediate direction; and that hence they ought gratefully to acknowledge him, obey his laws, do his will, and avoid every thing displeasing to him."
Some readers have said; if the Indians are of the tribes of Israel, some decisive evidence of the fact will ere long be exhibited. This may be the case. But what kind of evidence shall we expect? Must some miracle be wrought? It is generally thought the days of miracles are past. Probably no evidence ought to be expected in this case, but such as naturally grows from nature of the subject, and the situation of Israel. Would evidence like the following be deemed as verging toward what would be satisfactory? Suppose a healing character in Israel--wherever they are--should be found to have had in possession some biblical fragment of ancient Hebrew writing. This man dies, and it is buried with him in such a manner as to be long preserved. Some people afterward removing that earth, discover this fragment, and ascertain what it is,--an article of ancient Israel. Would such an incident, in connexion with the traditional evidence already exhibited on this subject, be esteemed of some weight? Something like this may possibly have occurred in favour of our Indians being of Israel.
The Rev. Dr. Griffin, President of Williams College, communicated to the writer, while preparing his first edition of the View of the Hebrews, the following account, with liberty to insert it in his book, if he pleased. The late venerable Dr. Boudinot stated to Dr. Griffin that the Rev. S. Larned (who died in New Orleans) informed him that while he was living in Pittsfield, Mass.--
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his native place--after he left college, there was dug in Pittsfield by one of his neighbors, probably from an Indian grave, some written parchments enclosed in a cover of skins. These parchments he obtained, took them to Boston, had them read, and found them to be the same parchments used in Jewish phylacteries, and well written in Hebrew. Mr. Larned added that he left them with the Rev. Dr. Elliot of Boston. Dr. Boudinot obtained leave of Mr. Larned to send and take them. He sent; but for some reason could not obtain them. Dr. Elliot soon after died; and nothing more was done upon the subject. On receiving this information from Dr. Griffin, the writer wrote to Rev. Dr. Humphrey, then minister of Pittsfield, requesting him to see what further information might be there obtained relative to this matter. He returned an answer. It was just as Mr. Humphrey was about leaving his people for the Presidency of the Amherst College Institution; and he could not pay much attention to the subject. He made considerable inquiry, however; but without much success. But he informed that he had a distant recollection, that when he came to Pittsfield, not long after the said parchments were found, he heard considerable said upon this subject. And he found an impression on his mind, that it was then said that some Jew probably lost these parchments there. The author wrote also to J. Everts, Esq. of Boston, desiring him to see if the parchments could be found. An answer was returned, that they were then in the hands of the Antiquarian Society. He stated also, the same account with that of Mr. Humphrey, that they were suppose to have been left in Pittsfield by some Jew. The writer afterward speaking of this thing to a celebrated minister in the centre of the state of New York, was by him informed that he had heard of the finding of these parchments; but that a Jew from Germany was known to have resided in Pittsfield, and probably lost them. Another supposed the Jews had a custom of burying their phylacteries; which might account for this phenomenon. The public mind had thus laid to rest relative to the parchments. The
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writer concluded to pay no further attention to the subject. But being advised by one whom he lightly respected, and who apprehended there might be something about this not yet investigated, he took a journey to Pittsfield. With some of the first characters of that town he took pains to ascertain whether any Jew was ever known to have resided or been in Pittsfield? Inquiry was made of different aged people, and who it was thought would be likely to give the most correct information--one or two had been there from within several years of the first settlement of the place. One and all answered in the negative, that no Jew was ever known in Pittsfield, as they believed, till Rev. Mr. Frey was there a few weeks before. The man was then found who first discovered the parchments under consideration. This was Joseph Merrick, Esq. a highly respectable character in the church of Pittsfield, and in the county, as the minister of the place informed. Mr. Merrick gave the following account; That in 1815, he was levelling some ground under and near an old wood-shed standing on a place of his, situated on Indian Hill, (a place in Pittsfield so called, and lying, as the writer afterward informed, at some distance from the middle of the town where Mr. Merrick is now living.) He ploughed and conveyed away old chips and earth, to some depths, as the surface of the earth appeared uneven. After the work was done, walking over the place, he discovered, near where the earth had been dug the deepest, a kind of black strap, about six inches in length, and one and a half in breadth, and something thicker than a draw leather of a harness, He perceived it had at each end a loop of some hard substance, probably for the purpose of carrying it. He conveyed it into his house, and threw it in an old tool box. He afterward found it thrown out of doors, and again conveyed it to the box. After some time he thought he would examine it. He attempted to cut it, and found it hard as a bone. He succeeded in cutting it open, and found it was formed of pieces of thick raw hide, sewed and made water tight with the sinews of some animal; and in the fold
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it contained four folded layers of old parchment. These leaves were of a dark yellow, and contained some kind of writing. Some of the neighbors saw and examined them. One of these parchments they tore in pieces; the other three he saved, and delivered them to Mr. Sylvester Larned, a graduate then in town, who took them to Cambridge, and had them examined. They were written in Hebrew with a pen, in plain and intelligible writing. The following is an extract of a letter sent to Mr. Merrick by Mr. Larned, upon this subject.
"Sir; I have examined the parchment manuscripts, which you had the goodness to give me. After sometime and with much difficulty and assistance I have ascertained their meaning, which is as follows; (I have numbered the manuscripts.)
No. 1 is translated by Deut. vi. 4--9 verses inclusive.
No. 2, by Deut. xi. 13--21 verses inclusive.
No. 3, Exod.xii. 11--16 verses inclusive.
I am, &c. SYLVESTER LARNED.
The celebrated Calmet informs that the above are the very texts of scripture which the Jews used to write on three out of four of their leaves of phylacteries; from which it is presumable that the fourth leaf, torn in pieces, contained the texts which belong to the fourth leaf. The leaves of their Phylactery, says; "This word from the Greek signifies a preservative. These phylacteries were little boxes, or rolls of parchments, wherein were written certain words of the law. These (boxes or rolls, containing their four leaves of parchment on which their text were written) they were upon their foreheads, and upon their wrist of their left arm. They founded this custom upon Exodus xiii. 9, 16."
Various authors noted by Calmet contend that the phylacteries were used in Israel from the days of Moses.
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Mr. Merrick informed that a Dr, James was living in Pittsfield when these parchments were found, and felt much interest in the event. He soon moved into New York. He afterward informed Mr. Merrick, that he had laid this matter before an aged Jew, who also felt interested in the event; and who after considering the subject some time, concluded that he could give no account of the leaves being found in such a condition in Pittsfield from any custom of the Jews.
I asked Mr. Merrick if he had ever known of any Jew as having resided or been in Pittsfield? He said he had not; nor did he believe one had ever been there. I further inquired whether he could account for the story of some Jew having left them in Pittsfield? He said it originated as follows. At the time the parchments were found, there were British prisoners residing in Pittsfield, taken in the late war. As much wonder was excited to these leaves, some neighbours expressed his conjecture that perhaps some of these British prisoners were Jews, and they had dropped or buried this thing there. Mr. Merrick viewed it wholly unlikely. But to ascertain the point, he went to the prisoners and asked if any of them were Jews? They said they were not. He inquired of their officers, and received the same assurance. He asked if any of them had any knowledge of this thing? and was answered in the negative. Mr. Merrick assured me, he had ever believed it to have been of Indian origin; and that Col. Larned (father of the late Rev. Mr. Larned) lived and died in the same belief. It seems no evidence has appeared to the contrary; notwithstanding the above groundless conjecture, which when it got abroad was magnified into a satisfactory account.
The writer conversed with Rev. Mr. Frey (the celebrated Jewish preacher in this country) upon this subject; who could give no account of the incident from any Jewish custom. He informed that the Jews have a custom of burying their leaves of phylacteries when worn out and illegible; as they had also any old leaf of a Hebrew bible. They would roll it up in some paper, and put it under ground from respect. But
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these leaves were whole and good, and were sewed up (as has been stated) in thick raw hide, and with the sinews of some animal; a thing which no Jew in Christendom would have done.
The writer left Pittsfield for Boston with a view to obtain these parchments, and to have them examined by the Hebrew professor at Cambridge, and professor Stuart of Andover. In Boston the Rev. Mr. Jenks informed him the parchments were at Worcester, in the care of the Antiquarian Society. He said he had seen them; and spoke of the story of the Jew's having lost them at Pittsfield. He added that the Rev. Dr. Holmes of Cambridge had seen and examined them. On my way returning to Worcester, I called on Dr. Holmes. He said he had carefully read the three parchments under consideration, and found them to be three out of four leaves which compose the Jewish phylacteries, containing the very passages which have ever been selected for their phylacteries; that they were written with a pen, and in fair Hebrew. He was shown the copy of Rev. Mr. Larned's letter to Mr. Merrick, which he said was correct. Rev. Dr. Holmes is known to be a correct Hebrew scholar. His wonder (with that of others) had been laid to rest by the rumour of a Jew having been known to leave them in Pittsfield. He was asked whether upon supposition of these leaves having been of Indian origin, any thing occurred to his mind relating to the parchments or writing, which might militate against the idea of their having been written in ancient Israel? He replied in the negative.
The writer returned to Worcester with full expectation of finding the parchments; but to his no small disappointment they could not be found. Dr. Thomas, president of the Antiquarian Society, said that such a leaf (he thought there was but one) was some years ago lodged in his care; and he presumed it was safe in some of the Antiquarian depositories. But among the many boxes of articles he knew not where to look for it. He too had received with it the rumour of its Jewish origin; and hence had not viewed it of great
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consequence. We searched several hours, but in vain. It is to be hoped the leaves may still be found, and further examined.
The Rev. Chauncey Cook of Chili, New York, at my house, gave the following information, with liberty of inserting it with his name. He has lately been credibly informed by a minister, (he cannot recollect his name, as several within six months have called on him from New England) that Rev. Dr. West of Stockbridge gave the following information. An old Indian informed him that his fathers in this country had not long since had a book which they had for a long time preserved. But having lost the knowledge of reading it, they concluded it would be of no further use to them; and they buried it with an Indian chief. The minister spoke to Mr. Cook of this information of Dr. West, as a matter of fact.
The following remarks are submitted:
1. Mr. Merrick, who found these parchments, was in the best situation to investigate their probable origin; and he was and remains of opinion they were from the Indians. He views the conjecture of their having been brought thither by some Jew, as without foundation. Rev. Mr. Larned, who carried them to Boston for examination, being a man of letters, must have been decently qualified to investigate and judge of this matter. He it seems was fully of the opinion they were Indian. His father, Col. Larned, was a man of note, and would not be likely to be imposed upon in this thing; and he lived and died in the belief they were Indian. And the writer could find no person in Pittsfield who could state any reason for believing otherwise. The conjecture of their Jewish origin gained importance by travelling abroad; but appears to have been without foundation at home.
2. Upon supposition of the Indians being descendants of Israel, there is no essential difficulty, but something very natural in the event. Calmet informs that Origen, Chrysostom and others, deemed the use of phylacteries in Israel to have been ancient as the days of Moses. He says that Lightfoot, Sealeg and Maldon
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insisted that the custom of wearing them was general in the time of our Saviour; and that Christ did not reprove the Pharisees for wearing them, but for their affection in having their phylactery cases wider than those of others. We conclude then the wearing of these phylacteries was a noted custom in Israel at the time of their final expulsion from Canaan. And it is natural to believe that Israel, being in exilement, would preserve these fragments of their better days with the utmost care. Wherever they went then, they would have these phylacteries with them. If they brought them to this country, they would keep them with diligence. They would most naturally become some of the most precious contents in their holy ark, as their nation formerly kept the holy law in the ark. Here such a phylactery would be safe through ever so many centuries. This is so far from being improbable, that it is almost a moral certainty. After their knowledge of reading had long been lost, some chief or high priest. or old beloved wise man, (keeper of their tradition) fearing these precious leaves would get lost, or parted, might naturally sew them in a fold of raw skins with the sinews of an animal, (the most noted Indian thread,) and keep this roll still in the ark; or carry it upon his belt. All this is what might most naturally be expected in such a case. This thing might have been thus safely brought down to a period near to the time when the natives last occupied Indian Hill, in Pittsfield; perhaps in the early part of last century. Its owner then might lose it there; or ( what is most probable) it was buried with some chief, or high priest; and hence was providentially transmitted to us. This I venture to say (on the supposition the Indians are of Israel) is by no means so impossible, as that some modern Jew left it there in the situation in which it was found. The style of the preservation of these parchments appears to be Indian; but not Jewish. No modern Jew would be likely to hide his precious leaves of phylacteries in a roll of raw hide, sewed with the sinew of an animal. Nor would he leave them had he done it on Indian Hill under ground. Sooner would he sacrifice his life than thus
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rudely to profane the most sacred symbols of religion! It is incredible.
Mr. Merrick observed that the colour of these parchments was dark yellow. Doctor Thomas, of Worcester, showed me among his Antiquarian curiosities, an Arabic parchment manuscript, which he informed was written long before the Christian era. This was dark yellow; but the parchment and writing were in good preservation. And one of these written parchments might thus long have been preserved as well as the other.
3. The view of the subject may give an intelligible view of the account of the old Indian in Stockbridge to Dr. West, that his fathers had buried, not long ago, a book which they could not read. And it may give a striking view of the vigilant care of the Watchman of Israel, who never slumbers, in relation to laying in train this singular item of evidence among many others, which should combine to bring to light that outcast people, who were to be exhibited to the world in the last days. The government and vigilance of the God of Jacob have ever been wonderful. And great things have been found to depend on a strange combination of minute events, that the unremitting care of the Most High might appear the more conspicuous. In ancient Israel many such instances might be pointed our. And when God's bowels shall yearn for Ephraim, earnestly remembering him still, and about finally to restore him, it will prove that he has not been unmindful of that providential train of evidence, which must eventually identify a people long outcast and lost from knowledge of the literary and civilized world, with his ancient beloved children of Abraham. Show a people on earth who have a greater claim from the most natural kind of evidence, than our natives, to be received as the descendants of Israel; and it is hoped that to such claim no objection will be offered
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